Saturday, April 23, 2011

Catching Up.... or....Digging My Way Out....

      I'm not sure why, but it seems that every now and then,  I find myself just buried!   Buried in laundry, buried in misc housework, buried in paperwork at school, buried in outside committments, and then... spring hits... and I'm double buried in yardwork.    Now, don't get me wrong... I usually bring most if this on myself.... a little slip here, a little slip there... and next thing you know... I'm just buried! 

     Last fall, we had a sudden turn in the weather.... from glorious sunny days, to outright downpours.  The soil turned soggy and muddy before I could do my fall cleanup.  I didn't pull the dahlias,  didn't rake the leaves under the shedding wisterias... didn't get the late summer weeds pulled.  Working full time, I really count on evenings and weekends to get the outside stuff done.  Add a couple of great car shows that take up fall weekends, and here I am!  BURIED!  Our spring hasn't been very cooperative either.... We had rain EVERY day in March.... and the first half of April.  I think we just turned the corner... we even broke 60 degrees yesterday. 
     Over the last couple of weeks, I've pulled weeds, raked leaves, stacked support cages, and baited for slugs.  I've trimmed roses, hydrangeas, butterfly bushes, and lavender plants.  Now.... I'm buried in black plastic bags and trimmings that need to be hauled away!   I'm still not done pulling and raking, but I feel like I'm getting close to air..... 

     I have also slipped and fallen behind in my quilting exchange committments.... So the other night, I spent a few hours and got some catching  up done.  still not there completely, but hopefully  my quilty friends around the world will bear with me and continue to let me play with them.
      These are the April Happy Blocks from the ScrappyandHappy Yahoo Group.... formerly our Block Central group.  Northern Deb chose the theme this month.... Fruits or Veggies in the center.... with borders that would remind us of summer table clothes.  I found that Lettuce fabric and knew immediately that I needed a quarter yard.   
We have a whole new batch of Quilt Auntie quilts to do at the   I'm currently signed up for blocks for 4.  I have two done.... both of them butterfly blocks for little girls.....

     I was way behind the eight ball on the March "my favorite block" swap at the scrappyandhappy yahoo group.  I should have mailed these blocks out the 7th of April... and they didn't go out until the 22.   This block is called "Checkerpins".  It's from  Marcia Hohn's Quilter's Cache . If you haven't visited this site which is chock full of free quilt block patterns.... You are really missing a treat!
The theme for the month was bright, spring like prints, with white backgrounds.  We make two blocks from one of our favorite block patterns .... and then there is a draw for two lucky winners.  We do this swap every other month.   I really need to get started on the one for the next draw... it's theme is batiks. 

     I also have the row robin to work on.... it's not due to be mailed until the 6th of May. 

    I'd like to think that I'll get caught up before my summer break starts... but that is not a guarantee.... but I'm sure I'd make better headway if I log off this computer... LOL

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Quilt kits....

     Remember back about a week ago.... I mentioned making quilt kits from my own stash..... I used both of my crib quilt kits for the Japan quilts..... I still have a black/white/red yellow brick road..... a strawberry kit for I think it's One block wonder, and a one block wonder black/white red.... ready to stitch.

This is one of the crib quilt kits I had made ahead from my stash. 
     I use those clear bags that linens come in that have the zippers.  These are great for this!  I have friends who give me these bags in all sorts of sizes.  
     Here you can see the contents of my kit.  I use simple sticky notes to label my various sizes before putting them in the bag.   If there were lots of different triangles etc.... I would put them into separately marked baggies. 

     I usually make sure to put a copy of the pattern into the bag as well..... that way, I don't have to hunt for it when I get ready to start stitching.  
     I didn't have the pattern handy with me the day I posted about the Japan quilt #1.  Since there is a rather famous pattern called "one block wonder" on the market besides this one.... I took a picture of the entire front envelope.   I did do a google search and was able to find that this pattern is still available.    I have found that it is so adaptable to scraps.... or to two or three fabrics.... what they use is two rectangles as the center of the block... but I fussy cut the polka dot square to take it's place in this one.....  
One Block Wonder

     So..... go ahead... next time you are cutting out a quilt that you know is simple to do.... look through your stash.... see if there is anything that you could cut a second one out of.... and bag it up, ready to take with you, or to have on hand, if you want to piece, and don't want to cut..... 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Stash Report Week 16

       I must confess, I fell off the perverbial wagon last week.  I had been doing so well!  I had to purchase 4 yards of flannel to back two quilts to go to Japan.... found it on sale, and spent less than $9.00.  This was for such a great cause... and I don't keep flannel in my stash as a general rule. 
          My UFO #4... was one I did not have backing fabric for... so I needed 7.5 yards for that if I'm going to get a start at finishing it.  (with 10 days left this month.... I'm not feeling very confident).   I also got this on sale, and spent less than $25. 
          then the trouble started.... LOL 
         JoAnn fabrics had their clearance fabrics for 50%  off.... this made most of them $1.50 a yard....and I lost all control.   I did get 55 yards of fabric for $85.00  Most of these were larger pieces that I can use for either backings or borders or both.  oh, yeah... I picked up three pieces of fruit / veg fabric for an exchange....

This last week increase -  66 yards
Last two weeks used -11 yards

Year to date increase = 165.5 yards
Year to date used: -  30 yards

 stash increased year to date ---    135.5 yards

A second quilt for Japan

     Tomorrow is the 20th... the deadline for getting quilts to our project coordinator... My sweet husband drove out to her house  yesterday to deliver my contribution while I was at work.

     I got a second quilt done as well.   The basic fabrics are the same as the first one, but I placed the colors in a different places, and got totally different results!

     Both are backed with flannel.   one is all this little blue/white floral.  The other one is pieced, 'cause I ran out of flannel after is shrank in the laundry when I pre-washed it!   This next picture is the pieced  back and and the label I made for both.  I'm still playing with the fonts on my new Janome.... I wish I could make the letters smaller. 

     It felt really good to make the majority of these two quilts from my stash!  All I bought was the 4 yards of flannel on sale, which totaled less than 9 dollars!  one of them I used 3 pieces of batting scraps stitched together to get enough batting.

I hope these keep some little Japanese girl cozy for a long time!

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Quilt for Japan....

    Our guild is promoting the Quilt for Japan project being sponsored by Quilter's Newsletter.  They have arranged for shipping of any quilt sent to them by April 31st.

     Here is a link to a request for baby quilts.....
and here is the link to the Quilter's newsletter blog....

     Since I don't have to pay for any shipping at all if I can get a quilt to our chairperson by the 20th of April.... I decided I could help out.

     A couple of years ago, in an effort to move some fabric along from my stash,  I cut some "kits" for charity type quilts.... a couple of baby quilts... and some large lap sizes.  These were EZ patterns... a few "yellow brick roads".... and some "one block wonders"...

     Having these pre-cut kits means that if I'm heading out to a sewing day,  or need a quick project,  the cutting and planning part are already done.  I can grab a packet and go!  Plus, the patterns don't require a lot of fussy piecing.  Both patterns are great for beginners,  because the individual block components never have to meet another seam.  Once all the blocks are squared to the same size, they hide a lot of errors.

     So,  back to my quilt for Japan.   I had a kit for a baby/toddler quilt still in the drawer.  So last night after the dinner dishes were done,  I started piecing.   This is what I came up with in just a couple hours of piecing.  

     This  cute little purple with yellow duck print has been hanging around at my house since my 15 year old granddaughter was a baby.     I cut out a sundress and bonnet, and never got it made before she outgrew the pattern I had cut out .... so I re-purposed the fabric into 2.5 x 4.5 rectangles.  This is the "one block wonder" pattern.   I've also made larger blocks with 3.5 x 6.5 rectangles.   Oh, and the yellow pin- dot fabric?  I can't remember when I purchased that, but it is probably the same vintage as the ducks. 

     So, today I need to go buy some  cuddly flannel backing.  JoAnn's has their flannel on sale for 60% off.      Since I have another identical kit in my drawer,  I'll go ahead and buy enough backing for both.   Who knows... maybe I'll get both finished before the April 20th deadline????  

     I plan on doing a very simple machine quilting design.... nothing too fussy.   And a label is definite must! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

April UFO challenge #4

this is the quilt I need to finish for the April UFO challenge....

This is my quilt #4.... the number chosen by Judy today.....   this is one of the quilts on my to finish list..... which I did not buy backing for this winter.... That will need to be the first task on my list....  or piece something from mutliple fabrics in my stash.... since I'm also doing the stash challnge... that makes the most sense.